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Best Pike Fishing in Scotland Near Edinburgh

Scotia Fishing have access to some of the best Pike fishing in Scotland near Edinburgh!

Edinburgh is a fantastic location to visit in Scotland. The city has all you would ever need as a tourist visiting Scotland. Beautiful architecture, historic streets, palaces, castles, a beach and one of Europe’s best cities for food and drink!

It also benefits from being ideally situated only one hour from beautiful countryside and some of the best Pike fishing!

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Best Pike Fishing Guides

Scotland is a bit of a sleeping giant when it comes to Pike fishing. When you think of Scotland, you will likely think of Atlantic Salmon fishing. Scotland is the home of Salmon fly fishing, so we can fully understand this thinking.

However, we feel the Pike is the underdog, If the Salmon is the king, the Pike is the prince!

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Our Head Guide Callum Conner is recognised as one of the best pike fishing guides in Scotland.
He’s been a fanatical Pike angler from a young age. Covering the length and breadth of Scotland to amass a wealth of knowledge on Scotland’s best Pike lochs and when it is best to fish these lochs. 

During this time he has built up a respectable record of large 20lb plus Pike captures. He’s also one of only a hand-full of anglers in the country to have caught a wild of Pike of over 40lbs! (image above)

Using this experience we will guide you on carefully chosen venues to suit your experience.

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Best Pike Fishing Lochs in Scotland near Edinburgh

Pike fishing in Scotland will take you into some of the most beautiful scenery the country has to offer. Fishing the iconic Scottish glacial lochs with roaring stags and aggressive tail walking Pike to interrupt the tranquility.

The glacial lochs are the ultimate challenge for the visiting Pike angler. Due to their size, local knowledge is paramount to success.

A good guide will use his experience to assess the conditions and how best to fish the loch. This will maximise your chances of success.

The glacial lochs are the best for larger Pike. We recommend booking a minimum of three days to give you the best chance at landing a 2olb plus specimen!

We’re fortunate enough to have come across some lesser known private lochs and have gained privileged access for our clients.

These private lochs have some of the best Pike fishing in Scotland near Edinburgh. Big numbers of hard fighting Pike can be caught here all year round.

These lochs have fewer 20lb plus Pike, but lots of sporting Pike in the 4-10lb class which are outstanding on light gear and fly!

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Best Fishing Methods to catch Pike in Scotland

Spring Pike Fishing

In early spring the Pike can be be lethargic until the water warms up. During this period we will fish for Pike with bait (dead-baiting) during the morning session.

After lunch we will try fishing from the boat with lures and flies in shallow to medium depth water. Using a depth finder to locate the drop-offs from shallow bays into deeper water with sinking fly lines. 

Once the water has warmed up and the Pike have spawned by mid to late May we will fly fish from the boat with 9ft #9 fly rods from Loop Tackle and streamer style flies or for spinning anglers we use light lure fishing rods 7ft in length rigged with fixed spool reels, braided mainlines equipped with an array of soft plastic, spinner baits and surface lures from Sakura-Fishing. 

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Summer Pike Fishing

Summer pike fishing is our favourite! This time of year we can find the Pike in shallow areas and sometimes sight cast to them with surface lures and surface flies. This is the best way to catch pike in Scotland!

Pike will often bow wave chasing fast stripped flies just subsurface. At this time of year your guide will use the Minn-Kota engine to manoeuvre quietly into position for you to reach the sun-bathing Pike!

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Autumn/Fall Pike Fishing

Autumn/Fall see’s us revert back to Spring style tactics for pike fishing. As the water cools so does the Pike’s willingness to chase a bait. This all depends on the climate at the time. It is Scotland – so very hard to predict!

As October approaches the Pike will be slowing down and lure fishing opportunities become restricted to the warmer mid-day before eventually resorting to dead-baiting all day. 

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Winter Pike Fishing

We fish for Pike using dead-baits mostly from October to April. This method involves fishing with static baits.

Using a variety of different frozen baits we cast into the loch at various areas using a selection of rods to cover a suitable area. As the baits thaw the scent permeates into the water.

The Pike has a very advanced sense of smell and will sniff out the baits, sometimes very quickly. On its day, this is a very effective method and large catch days are possible.

Has this post wetted your appetite to try some Pike fishing?

Read our reviews on Tripadvisor about pike fishing near Edinburgh.

For more information on Pike fishing trips in Scotland, you can contact us via the “Contact Us” button at the top of the page.

Fishing In Iceland

This year in June I had the opportunity to go Fishing in Iceland with a great guy Nick (whom I guided the previous year on the Tay) and his friend Hamish. Despite his name, Hamish is not Scottish and is in fact Australian!

Nick and Hamish were already in Iceland with their partners exploring the country. I was scheduled to meet up with them in Reykjavik where we would then drive north for approximately five hours to Husavik where we would then meet Iceland Fishing Guide Matthías Þór Hákonarson

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Iceland Fishing Guide

The Journey to Iceland
I booked my flights via SkyScanner, flying from Glasgow to Heathrow, then Heathrow to Reykavijk. There is only one direct flight per week to Reykavijk from Scotland – oddly. I flew with British Airways and Icelandair.

My journey to Iceland turned into a bit of a nightmare in all honesty. Having arranged the flights with plenty of layover time I found myself in Glasgow Airport with my flight delayed and no schedule, great…

I have not had much luck flying to Heathrow in the past. I think every flight I’ve had there has been delayed or cancelled! Anyway, a one hour delay turned into a six hour delay meaning I would now be late for my Heathrow to Reykavijk flight, arriving at the departure time.

Whilst on the plane I managed to find a group of Icelandic people in the same predicament as me, they felt they may keep the gates open. We struck up conversation with me telling them how Scotland had adopted Iceland in the Euro’s after knocking out England from the competition :).

We had to run from terminal 2 to terminal 5 with a fifteen minute coach tour and sprint with 20lbs plus of camera luggage on my back – still unaware if the flight had been delayed for us. Arriving at the gates we could hear the staff shouting us to hurry up – what a relief! A big group hug and we split up to find our seats aboard the plane.

After arriving at Reykavijk Airport I waited for 45 mins in the baggage collection area, no sign of my bag. A visit to the help desk would reveal they were still London, brilliant! At least I had made it to Iceland but I had nothing apart from my camera equipment. They did however give me a toothbrush, some shower gel, shampoo, razor and a XXL white tee shirt? No waders or fly rods though unfortunately!

I was told my stuff would be flown to me at my accommodation but would be unlikely to arrive until the second day of my trip! I headed to my hotel and borrowed an iPhone charge to charge my phone and tried to laugh it off.

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Some stunning views, it could almost be Scotland…

Day 1 Fishing in Iceland 
I met with Nick the following morning at my hotel before driving to the hire place to change our vehicle and collect Hamish before starting the long and scenic drive up to Husavik.

The drive was really cool, it allowed me to see of the famous Icelandic scenery. The most striking thing for me was the colour of the rivers. It is ridiculously clear and almost blue like in some places. The landscape is also very similar to Scotland in some areas.

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Bloody camera geeks…

A lunch stop and some garage stops along the way quickly made me realise how expensive stuff really was in Iceland! If you’re going to Iceland, be aware, it is not cheap! Alcohol  prices are insane. Sorry for sounding so Scottish like, but it’s a fact!

We met up with Matti at his home where we would then follow him up to our lodge by the river.

After explaining my luggage predicament I was pleased to know our Iceland Fishing Guide could supply me with a jacket, waders and boots. Hamish borrowed me some fishing clothing and a brand new rod and reel, which I would later christen before him! (Sorry Hamish)

We got unpacked and quickly set up all the gear rapidly in excitement at what the first session would be like!

Our first days fishing in Iceland was a five hour evening session. Hamish was first up to fish for Salmon. Good news was Matti reckoned there were a few fish about, not loads but the ones that were here were multi sea winter fish in the 10 – 15lb bracket.

Nick and I opted to go fishing for Trout first and on route Matti stopped at this little stream by the road to show us some Char.

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How fishy does that look?

I had never caught a Char before and this was the species highest on my agenda!

We fished for twenty minutes in this small stream and managed to hook one or two each before moving to the main river for Trout.

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Nick lands a nice Char whilst minding the electric fence…

Matti set me up with this bright Pink nymph and said it was the best fly – I just looked at him with uncertainty. Really? I cannot name on here what he referred to it as but it was an interesting name…

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The Pink Fella…

Dropping us up river Matti told us how to fish the fly before leaving with Hamish in search of silver!

It didn’t take long to suss out the Brown Trout fishing. Fishing downstream and across, streamer style I was constantly on the move, stepping, casting, swinging and twitching the fly back occasionally to induce takes. Within a couple of hours I had covered a lot of water and managed to land a number of Brown Trout up to 3lbs.

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Beautiful colouration on their cheeks!

After a few hours Matti arrived back with a rather jubilant looking Hamish, it was clear there had been success! Hamish had managed to land the first Salmon of the trip!

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Hamish with a great Icelandic Atlantic Salmon!

Hamish also hooked and lost one stripping a Monkey that session.

I swapped with Hamish and headed with Matti back to the pool where Hamish lost his fish. I got into the water and warmed up with a few casts while Matti told me to aim at the boils on the far side of what was quite a slow moving pool.

The method was to allow the line to swing slightly under tension before stripping back the fly with long, steady pulls. Within the first few casts I saw a bow wave appear and kept stripping. Suddenly a big boil broke the surface and, bang, fish on!

I played the fish for no longer than a minute then it suddenly went slack. Bugger! These Atlantic’s are no different than back home!

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Matti collects us at the end of the day…

We tried some other spots that night but no other fish were hooked. Matti gathered everyone up in the Jeep and took us back to the Goat House (the name of our accommodation).

Hákon was the chef (Matti’s father) and had a meal almost prepared for us on arrival – what a great service!

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Top guy and chef Hakon

We all sat down to a fantastic evening meal prepared by Hákon consisting of Icelandic Lamb, Roast Vegetables and Hakon’s signature “gravy macaronis”. Simply immense!
The meals over our times were excellent and we couldn’t fault one bit.

A few wines and expensive beers were had that night as we all shared the usual fish stories and had a good banter. Matti has a great sense of humour and had us in stitches with his stories!

Day 2 Fishing in Iceland
On the second day we had two five hour sessions. The Scandinavians love to rest their rivers, so we fished morning and evening sessions allowing a break of a good few hours in the afternoon. I was back out with the Salmon rod again whilst Hamish and Nick pursued the local Brown Trout populations.

The main thing that’s different when fishing for Salmon in Iceland than here in Scotland is the fishing is done by sight 90% of the time. Matti would drive down the beat, stopping the jeep to go and observe from the canyons and spot any Salmon below.

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Matti searches for Silver down the canyons…

Matti and I spent all morning on this and didn’t come across a single Salmon. The river had risen slightly overnight and we concluded that the Salmon had probably pushed up river with the rising water. We stopped for lunch and met up with the guys who had been doing well, landing several brown trout up to 3lbs all morning.

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It reminds me very much of the Upper River Clyde!

I was so pleased to get back to the lodge and see my belongings had been delivered!

After lunch we were able to go and fish the local stream that runs by the Goat House. Matti had said this produced a few Trout, not as many as the main river but generally much bigger average size. Hamish and Nick opted for this and I chose to go hit my little favourite Char pool!

With Char being a new species the novelty was not wearing off. I spent two hours in the one are catching Char after Char. Changing flies regularly I was able to keep the bites coming. To be fair any pattern worked to start with!

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A typical Icelandic char before release…

That day the rain was relentless, sideways at times. At one point I could hardly open my fly box my fingers were that numb! It was around 7/8 degrees celsius and with the wind chill and sideways rain it felt much colder! It was like fishing in Scotland in spring – but this was summer!

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Fish on!

Matti came to pick me up with the boys to head out again for the evening session. The guys had managed a couple of Trout around 5lb size – epic for such a tiny stream!

Nick was now trying for a Salmon whilst myself and Hamish were left up river to harass the resident browns!

Sporting the same tactics as before but with my trusty Loop Cross S1 #5 I waded out a few feet from the bank and kept casting, stepping, swinging and twitching back flies to tempt the trout. I honestly don’t recall fishing as easy as this, every where you thought a Trout would be, you would cast, twitch and bang, fish on!

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These Browns are well fed!

To be honest after a couple of hours I was more than content having landed in excess of 40 hard fighting acrobatic brown trout up to 3lbs in weight. It was incredible sport!

Eventually I met up with Matti and Nick who were keen to see how I had got on. Nick had no luck finding any Salmon, like myself earlier. He had decided to go back and fish for some browns and get some action.

Hamish fancied another shot at the Salmon so I fished on with Nick and tried to get some images.

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Nick with a typical brown trout

The sport had slowed down as it got noticeably colder but we still managed to catch a few before calling it a night.

It was back to the goat house for wine, food and a bit of craic!

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Dinner & Wine Time

Day 3 Fishing in Iceland
The last day would see us fish in the morning up until lunch time. I chose to hit the Salmon with Hamish coming along also to take turns should we land a Salmon.

Matti drove around a couple of pools looking for fish until we found some.

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The views from the road…

“Oh yes, big Salmon and one huge Trout next to it – can you see”. The Salmon then broke the surface and looked pretty clean and a fair size considering I was about 30ft plus above it.

I kept myself calm whilst Matti suggested the best way to cover it.

The dilemma we had here is if we go too close to the brown trout, he would take the fly and ultimately spook the Salmon. I was positioned up river 25/30ft and also above the river level another 30ft plus I had to wiggle out line from the rod tip and allow the current to position the fly past the Salmon before stripping across slightly to entice him. It was an interesting and challenging presentation.

First cast I was a little short. Second cast I was in the zone and watched as the Salmon rose up for the fly twice missing it! Wow, that was pretty cool. I then thought to myself “I’ve missed my chance”.
Third cast he came up missed, came back and got it!

Fish on!

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Trying to keep the leader of the sharp rocks – nasty!

It was a first for me to watch a Salmon take my fly like this, I was pumped as I played this fish from a very precarious position. It was probably the most nerve racking fight I’ve had from a fish on fly. I had an audience, it was the last day and would I get another chance before we flew home? Not only that, from my elevated position I had to watch every head shake of the Salmon as it bore up and down the pool whilst rubbing its side along the sharp rocks.

What was this fish trying to do to me?

The fight seemed to last an eternity, it always does in these situations. Matti was top notch throughout and explained the landing technique!

Once the fish was tired I had to allow her to fall back with the current to the end of the pool where Matti was with the net.

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Iceland Fishing Guide Matti at the net ready…

We got her close too early and as soon as she saw Matti’s face she shot back into the neck of the pool again up the canyons – who could blame her? Second time she turned and slowly came down stream and I knew this was the right moment and tried to guide her slowly towards Matti who had no trouble getting her at first attempt.

A few “Woo Hoo’s” were hollered down that canyon let me tell you! Now I had to work out how to get down to Matti for the photos…

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What is a Salmon fishing in Iceland trip without the obligatory grip and grin?

Weighing around mid teens I was very happy with this Salmon on a single handed fly rod. It had a missing adipose fin and what looked like nets,seal or porpoise damage but it did not detract any of its beauty for me. A Salmon, is a Salmon in my eyes! I was more than stoked to end on a high and give the rod up to Hamish.

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Hamish swings his fly in a last attempt for some Icelandic Silver

We searched on for the last hour or so looking for another Salmon but never came across any. It was time to meet up with Nick who had spent the remaining morning chasing browns then headed back to the lodge for the final time.
Packing  up our gear we then said our goodbyes to Hakon and Matti thinking them for their hospitality and making our fishing in Iceland experience so memorable. Hopefully we get to meet again sometime in the future. I’d love to get Matti into a Tay springer!

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A fair few scenic shots were taken from the car…

We all headed back down the road taking our time to absorb the scenery and reflect on what a great few days we just had. The drive is spectacular for a fisherman as you get to wonder whats in every river you pass. We did see quite a lot of fisherman on both journeys and watched one angler land a Salmon below some waterfalls!

We also decided to stop by Lake Myvatn and seen some geo-thermal activity. It’s like being on Mars as sulphur bubbles out the ground, shoots of steam and water bursting through the ground creating a warm humid air. It’s so bizarre and definitely worth seeing.

We arrived in Reykavijk for the last night before flying out early the next morning, we loaded our stuff into our accommodation then went out for some dinner in the city centre. The next morning I dropped the guys off at the airport and took back the car to the hire shop before catching my own flight home to Glasgow – which was on time by the way!

For anyone thinking of fishing in Iceland, I would thoroughly recommend fishing with Matti from Iceland Fishing Guide. They’re very reasonably priced for Iceland fishing. Matti’s a great guide and host who will do his utmost to get you into the fish!

Summer Fishing in Scotland 2016 Update

The 2016 Summer fishing in Scotland is almost coming to an end – where have the months gone!
Apologies for the lack of updates with the blog, we’ve had a lot going on at Scotia HQ.

We’ve had a very positive season with many clients visiting from across the globe including USA, Canada, Australia, Europe and Asia. Our summer has been rather cold, which although not so pleasant for those visiting the country on vacation, has made for better fishing conditions!

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Scotland in summer, it takes some beating for natural beauty!

Late spring and summer period has seen some great fishing spells for all species, particularly salmon. The Tay has received consistent runs throughout the summer months with many multi sea winter Salmon mazing an appearance throughout the river system.
The lower river has fished particularly well from July onwards, with some beats having their best July for over a decade!

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Returning the new record Salmon landed 18lbs of Tay silver!

Our clients felt the rewards of this with some good catches. The highlight of the bunch had to be returning customer Jacopo (only 13 years of  age) landing a Tay powerhouse 18lb Atlantic Salmon!

Kid Catches 18lbs Salmon From River Tay Scotland! from Scotia Fishing on Vimeo.

This young man is a little superstar!

Also having a great day was big Sebi from Switzerland with a stunning brace of Tay silver on the fly! Not bad for your first time ever Spey casting!

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A few “woo hoos” were in order!

His girlfriend also lost two spinning – what a day that could have been!

With the colder weather our rivers fished very well and we had much better brown trout fishing than last year. We picked up a number of nice browns on nymphs during this period.

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Robert (Rab) aka 603 Fly Guy with a nice brown on the Euro nymphing set up!

I had a great day out with Robert on the river chatting about all things fishy – the fishing was as good as the banter also!

Cody had a cracker right at the close of play, proving it pays to fish hard to the end!

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Cody’s new PB Brown Trout on the Frenchie…

As well as the ever obliging and very welcome Grayling…

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Rafael’s first ever Grayling!

The Hill loch brown trout fishing has been hit or miss, on the colder days it has almost felt like winter up at these higher altitudes, putting the fish down. We have still managed to catch a few though!

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It can be cold up on the tops of these hills. Still as beautiful though!

Leonard had some good sport fishing traditional Scottish wet fly tactics.

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Leonard with an average wild brown trout…

The Pike fishing has been consistently good with fly and modern lure fishing tactics. For a couple of weeks the big fish were hard on the feed and our clients landed some great pike during this period on lures..

The biggest of the season so far goes to Piotr using light lure fishing tackle.

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As fat as they get, this Pike was sitting under some of the largest shoals of Perch fry I have ever seen!

Chad managed a cracking first ever Pike on the fly.

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A hard fighting Pike on fly…

Just look at the beautiful colouration on these Pike!

I managed a couple of short breaks myself including a three day trip to Iceland (report to follow soon). I also took a recent foray up to the Highlands with my partner. We were unlucky with the weather though and endured some spectacular wind and rainstorms, which put an end to the fishing, but made for some interesting photographs!

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Tornado like wind storms up in the Highlands of Scotland

The summer fishing period in Scotland is coming to an end for 2016. With the arrival of Autumn we hit one of the best times of year to fish for all fresh water species in Scotland.
It is also one of the most beautiful seasons to be on the water with the leaves turning on the trees and misty mornings – I can’t wait!

Tight lines!

Callum Conner

Scotia Fishing Head Guide
SGAIC Qualified & Loop Tackle endorsed Instructor

Spring Salmon Fishing in Scotland

What is it about Spring Salmon fishing in Scotland that is so appealing? In the early spring months of January and February it is essentially winter-time and we have a cheek to call it Spring! At this time of year the Atlantic Salmon are pretty thin on the ground and one requires hard work, dedication and a dash of luck to connect with that prized bar of silver!

Catching the elusive “Scottish Springer” is no easy feat. However if you are fortunate to get your fly or lure in front of a springer, it could be the catch of your season.  It is this level of anticipation that captures the spirit of the die-hard Salmon angler. A Spring Atlantic Salmon in Scotland is the ultimate, the “pièce de résistance”  if you like. If you were to ask any die-hard Salmon fishermen what’s their favourite time of year to catch a Salmon, I reckon 95% would tell you it’s the Spring. You can even include ourselves in this statistic.

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A stunning example of a spring Salmon from the River Tay for Australian Guest Mark!

 

When fishing for Spring Salmon you have to get into the correct mindset. Personally, I try not to think and over analyse my fishing too much or listen to theories. I’ll fish methodically, covering as much water as I physically can. The more water you cover the better chance of getting your fly or lure in front of a Salmon – that’s how I always approach my Salmon fishing.

The good thing for us anglers is Spring Salmon are generally more aggressive, therefore, better takers. Although numbers aren’t as prolific as they are during the back end, if you can cover them, you stand a very good chance of inducing a take.

 

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Fly fishing for Spring Salmon in April

What makes Spring Salmon or “Springers” as they are more affectionately known such a sought after quarry?

  • Fishing is more accessible & affordable to anglers
  • There is more satisfaction at catching a spring Salmon
  • Greater admiration among your angling peers
  • They take and fight with unrivalled power and aggression
  • The fish are in peak condition, beautifully proportioned, bright silver and often sea-liced

The Spring Salmon Fishing Season in Scotland

Spring Salmon fishing in Scotland effectively starts in January with the Helmsdale starting proceeding’s and then the Ness and Tay following on. The Tweed then follows, opening in February.

The spring Salmon season ends in June.

I must admit, it feels nothing like spring when fishing in those early months of this “Spring” period, in particular January and February, then through to the beginning of March. One must invest in good thermals!

Despite the cold, this time of year offers a great chance to connect with a spring run Atlantic Salmon!

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A beautiful spring salmon from the River Tay system – our favourite river system!

Our Best Spring Salmon Fishing Rivers in Scotland

The River Tay
The Tay offers the best value spring Salmon fishing in Scotland. Scotland’s largest river can boast one of the highest numbers of rod caught Salmon in Scotland. During the early months of the year the traditional Tay method of Harling (Boat trolling) is without doubt the favoured method. From opening day the lower beats of the Tay around Stanley fish best, particularly when cold as fish back up below the first real temperature barriers in the river.

These early runners tend to be headed for the upper reaches of the system, Tummel, Isla, Ericht, Loch Tay and Dochart and some can be well in excess of 20lbs!

As March begins and the water temperatures rise the Salmon runs increase with the arrival of the spring tides. as the early spring Salmon run to the furthest parts of the system and the Loch itself can produce a number of big fish in the coming weeks.

April & May sees the peak of the Spring Salmon run and during this period they can be caught throughout the system with the Middle Tay beats often the most productive. This is one of our favourite times to be on the River Tay.

The Lower River Tummel
The River Tummel is part of the excellent Tay system. This short river has a hydro electric dam at Pitlochry which acts as a temperature barrier for migrating Salmon. Salmon will congregate in their hundreds and thousands below the dam until the temperature reaches 12 degrees. Like flicking a switch, the fish counter on the dam will start rising rapidly as Salmon run the fish ladder in their hundreds daily. As the Salmon run the fishing in the lower river Tummel becomes tougher.

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The River Teith in Spring, a beautiful river with great potential…


The River Isla & Ericht 

One of the most prolific spring salmon systems in Scotland. These small tributaries of the Tay offer outstanding value for money Salmon fishing and can be fished with a single handed fly rod. What the Lower Isla lacks in beauty it more than makes up for in the numbers of fish it produces.

The Ericht is a river for the more adventurous angler, access can be a challenge but for those prepared for a scramble it offers an excellent chance of a spring salmon in Scotland, particularly in April & May.

North & South Esk
The North & South Esk have to be the two most under-rated Salmon rivers in Scotland. The Esk’s are spate rivers, fishing better after a rise in water levels. If you can time the conditions right they can offer an outstanding chance of landing a Scottish springer! The beauty of these little rivers is they can easily be fished with a single handed fly rod.

The River Tweed
One of the big four Scottish rivers more noted for its Autumn Salmon fishing. In recent seasons the Tweed has seen an increase in its spring Salmon run. The Tweed is a fly fishers dream and boasts more fly caught Salmon than any other river in the central and borders region of Scotland. It is an utterly stunning lowland river and an absolute must for the avid Salmon angler!

The River Teith 
The Teith is one of Scotland’s most beautiful rivers, given the right conditions it can compete with the best rivers in Scotland. The Teith is a big fish river and many twenty pound plus Spring Salmon have been landed from this system in recent years. It is where I caught my first ever Salmon, and holds a special place in my heart. Another must in our eyes!

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Head Guide Callum Conner admires a true Scottish Spring Salmon

The Salmon

A true “springer” will be bright silver with glints of purple down the flanks and dark grey or blue backs. (As above)

As well as fresh run spring Salmon you may also encounter a few other classes of Salmon.

Kelts are what we call spawned out Salmon. These Salmon returned to the river the previous season and have spawned during winter. The Kelts are now in a recovery stage before beginning their journey back to sea again.

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A not so well mended Salmon kelt caught in spring. Note the thin appearance and fungus on tail, this is not prevalent in well-mended kelts.

Although silver, Kelts are much thinner in appearance having used up all their body fat. They are often carrying gill maggots (see above) and are known to attack anything that comes in their general direction! Many inexperienced anglers can mistake Kelts for Spring Salmon.

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Gill maggots, a clear give away it is not a fresh Salmon and indeed a kelt.

There is also the opportunity of Rawners or Baggots, which are male and female Salmon (respectively)  that have entered the river and haven’t managed to spawn.

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Salmon Baggot caught in April

Baggots and Rawners carry more colour, faded grey, purple & brown shades along body, with brown colouration on their heads. Many will have gill maggots and ragged fins (as above). They may not be a spring salmon but they do still put a welcome bend in the rod!

Good sport can be had in the beginning months with these fish.

During the early months of spring it is vitally important you wear appropriate clothing to endure the elements and increase your chances of success.

Spring Salmon Fishing Clothing

  • Thick Merino Wool Socks
  • Merino wool or synthetic base layer top and pant
  • Fleece layer top & pant or Primaloft top & pant
  • Waterproof outer layer jacket
  • Breathable or Neoprene waders
  • Wool hat
  • Wool or windproof gloves

Click the following link to read our informative article about layering your clothing.

spring-salmon-fly-fishing-tackle

Never under estimate the importance of tackle choice…

After a few months of lying redundant it is important to double check all your fishing tackle and make sure it’s in fine order, replacing any old and damages lines and leaders for the new season ahead.

Spring Salmon Fishing Fly Fishing Tackle

Rods
12-15ft fly rods to suit the river size and med-fast actioned to aid sunk lines and skagit casting.

Reels
A smooth reliable drag is important and must match the size of fly rod and store approx 150 yards of backing.

Fly lines
Skagit iFlight, Hover sink1 shooting head, Intermediate head sink 2/3 shooting head & Full floating shooting heads.

Leaders
10ft Poly/Versi leaders in various sink rates.

Tippets
25lb Fluorocarbon for heavy tubes and 19lb for flies. And the old faithful 18lb or 20lb maxima chameleon

Flies
Monkeys, Black & Yellow, Willie Gunn & Ice Maiden in copper, tungsten and brass tubes during the colder months when it is imperative to get down to the fish.

As the water warms the usual dressed flies including Ally’s Cascades, Yellow Ally’s, Gledswood shrimp’s, Willie Gunn’s or Flamethrowers among many others work.

I am still great believer fly choice is more down to confidence and size/depth holds greater importance. Follow the rule, big water, big fly and vice versa

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Australian lady Liz spin fishing for Salmon on the mighty River Tay in May

Spring Salmon Lure Fishing Tackle

Lures
Megabass Vision Oneten’s, Devon Minnows, Toby Salmo’s, Rapala Max Raps & Kynoch Killers are the mainstays.

Rods
9-11ft rods are the norm. I prefer a shorter 9ft rod for spinning but 10ft is considered standard. An 11ft rod is better suited to fishing Devon Minnows.

Reels
I prefer a 4000 or 5000 series front drag reels with 40lb braid for Salmon spin fishing. Traditionally many use Shimano bait runners in the 6000, 8000 & even 10000. Although fine, they are are not actually designed for spinning and can be quite cumbersome reels to fish with all day, although ok for harling.

Other Handy Items For Spring Salmon Fishing

Landing Net / Gye Net
Rubber Meshed McCleans Salmon Nets take some beating. One with a gye strap when fishing alone for transportation. You don’t want to lose that elusive springer when trying to beach on your own!

Thermometer
Can aid line choice and give yo an idea of how the fish will behave. You can then alter your tactics to suit.

Towel & Spare Clothing
In the lucky event you take a tumble you don’t want to end your day early. It still amazes me how many anglers don’t do this!

Auto Inflate Life Jacket
We really shouldn’t fish without them.

Wading Staff
Acts a stabiliser and third leg when negotiating the riverbed.

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An angler awaits in anticipation as his fly swings round…

Fishing Tips For Spring Salmon Fishing in Scotland

  • Get some casting lessons from a qualified instructor during the closed season on techniques for sunk line and skagit lines
  • Layer your clothing correctly. Base layer, mid insulating layer & waterproof layer
  • Listen to local & ghillies advice – they know the river better than anyone
  • Thorough check your gear for wear prior to your trip
  • Fish deeper and slower to suit the colder conditions
  • Fish higher and faster in warmer conditions – Don’t be afraid to work the fly faster
  • Cover the river methodically, visualising your fly or lure fishing through the pool
  • Monitor any catch trends in specific areas, especially in the early stages of the season
  • Hire a guide if unfamiliar with the local fishing

If this wets your appetite for a Spring Salmon fishing in Scotland package please get in touch with us to discuss further.

Tight Lines

Callum Conner

Head Guide & Owner Scotia Fishing
Loop Tackle Design Ambassador
SGAIC Single & Double Hand Instructor